War competition galvanized America into the first nuclear nation (II)

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War competition galvanized America into the first nuclear nation (II)
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The historical trails of the discovery of fusion went back in 1920 when Arther Eddington explained in the UK that the primary source of stellar energy could come from hydrogen-helium fusion. Mark Oliphant carried out laboratory fusion of hydrogen isotopes in 1932 in the USA.

The explosion produced energy equivalent to 10.4 megatons of TNT which was 450 times the power of the bomb dropped onto Nagasaki.

The theory of the main cycle of nuclear fusion in stars was worked out by Hans Bethe who later devoted his life to the research into fusion for military purposes in the early 1940s as part of the Manhattan project of Allied powers, basically the USA, the UK, and Canada. Fusion was completed in 1951 as a part of operation greenhouse conducted on the Island of Engebi in the Eniwetok (Enewetak) Atoll in the Central Pacific Ocean. It was America’s first test of a boosted fission weapon. Again America was the first nation in the world to carry out the fusion bomb test in Operation Ivy Mike on November 1, 1952, on Elugelab Island in the Eniwetok (Enewetak) Atoll of the Marshall Islands with its code-named “Mike”. The explosion produced energy equivalent to 10.4 megatons of TNT which was 450 times the power of the bomb dropped onto Nagasaki. The Elugelab Island was obliterated by making an underwater crater of 1.9 km wide and 50 m deep. Finally, Truman announced the successful outcomes of the development of the hydrogen bomb to the world on January 7, 1953.

A German scientific team led by physicist Kurt Diebner was directed to develop a primitive nuclear device in March 1945 in the small town of Ohrdruf, Thuringia state and to carry out its experimental nuclear reactor at Haigerloch town of Baden-Württemberg state in the north-western part of Germany. But, Germany could not develop nuclear weapons on or before May 8, 1945, when she was forced to surrender to the allied powers unconditionally.

The Soviet Union, being an ally of America, was a rival in political philosophy and there was a sharp competition between these two countries regarding the development of nuclear weapons in order to become superpowers.

Japan’s interest to develop a nuclear weapon also came to a halt when a committee led by Yoshio Nishina concluded in 1943 that it would probably be difficult even for the USA to realize the application of atomic power during the war. In fact, it was Japan’s miscalculation which proved wrong when America had dropped atomic bombs into the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The Soviet Union, being an ally of America, was a rival in political philosophy and there was a sharp competition between these two countries regarding the development of nuclear weapons in order to become superpowers.

The then USSR tested its first fission bomb from its test site in Kazakhstan nick-named as “Joe-1” on August 29, 1949, with the great efforts. It was so unexpected for American predictions to succeed so early. The then Soviet secret agency Chief Lavrenty Beria ordered to the Soviet physicist Yuli Khariton to lead the scientific efforts to develop a nuclear weapon. Arzamas-16 was the equivalent of Los Alamos in the Soviet Union.

Klaus Fuchs, a German émigré theoretical physicist, had been intimately involved in the development of the implosion weapon in Los Alamos passed on detailed cross-sections of the Trinity device/test to his Soviet contacts. Based on that carefully drawn espionage information, the Soviet Union developed successfully its nuclear weapons based on the mechanism of fission. Similarly, the Soviet Union tried to develop a hydrogen bomb based on the mechanism of fusion.

On August 6 in the morning at about 8:16 am, 1945, a uranium-enriched 64 kg bomb called “Little Boy”, was detonated 2000 feet above the Japanese city of Hiroshima by Enola Gay plane killing between 70,000 and 146,000 civilians instantly.

Vice-President Harry S. Truman assumed the presidency after Roosevelt’s death on April 12, 1945. Truman ordered the first time use of nuclear weapons on Japanese cities, with the intention of sending a strong message to the Japanese leadership to surrender soon and prevent the entry of the Soviet Union into Pacific region. Upton Truman and his Secretary of State James F. Byrnes’s orders, the Target Committee at Los Alamos led by Oppenheimer recommended Kyoto, Hiroshima, Yokohama, and Kokura as possible targets on May 10–11, 1945, but later on, Kyoto’s cultural concern led to be replaced it by Nagasaki.

On August 6 in the morning at about 8:16 am, 1945, a uranium-enriched 64 kg bomb called “Little Boy”, was detonated 2000 feet above the Japanese city of Hiroshima by Enola Gay plane killing between 70,000 and 146,000 civilians instantly. It further killed 20,000 soldiers and brought complete destruction to 60,000 buildings, 90% city was burned to ashes, finally, it was estimated that about 80,000 civilians were killed. Biological and genetic disorders were prominently visible due to radiation exposure.

Three days later, on August 9 in the morning at about 11:02 am, 1945, a plutonium-based 6.4 kg “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki city with a casualty number running as much high as 64,000 — with 39,000  dead and 25,000 injured, 14,000 buildings were completely destroyed and 5,400 were half-destroyed. Throughout the entire human history, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were/are the only two cities in which nuclear weapons were used in war/combat.

At the same time, the Venona project was initiated by the USA as a counter-intelligence program during the WWII starting from February 1, 1943, to October 1, 1980, covering a time period of 37 years. It kept a lot of information on various intelligence agencies of the Soviet Union. In that way, America was really superpower and had all the information keep the US Government updated. Information plays crucial roles in any mission or plans to start and continue ahead. Without information, we can’t do anything.

America emerged victorious after WWII and became the number one nuclear nation and developed many nuclear weapons thereafter. Other countries learned lessons from American experiences. But the success of fission and fusion technology to produce nuclear weapons in the then Soviet Union ended the American monopoly on the production of nuclear weapons. It sharpened the nuclear arms race in the world.

These nuclear powers are unlikely to engage in nuclear wars in the future.

After the WWI nine nations have become the members of the nuclear hub in the world by 2019. Those nine nuclear nations possess altogether 14,485 nuclear warheads distributed among them.  Russia stands first in terms of having numbers of nuclear warheads (6,850) followed by the USA (6450), France (300), PR China (280), the UK (215), Pakistan (150), India (140), Israel (80), and North Korea (20). The United States of America is taken as the most powerful nation in the world in terms of overall nuclear strength. If we use the biggest 10 or smaller 100 nuclear warheads, it will be sufficient to completely destroy or obliterate our mother earth. The smog that comes out of the nuclear explosion will rise up to a minimum of 18 km and will drop the temperature of the earth drastically. No organism will survive in the freezing temperature (after the nuclear explosions).

That is why the use of nuclear warheads in nuclear war/s is not in the interest of even nine nuclear countries. I am sure the threat situation (of using nuclear weapons) that these nine nuclear powers create help them bargain better in political negotiations with other countries around the world. These nuclear powers are unlikely to engage in nuclear wars in the future. Rather, The US and Russia must develop a strategy to use nuclear energy for human welfare and conclude the ongoing process of complete disarmament. If they agree, the whole world will live in peace. Even the Korean Peninsula will become a fully denuclearized zone with Harari’s Homo sapiens and Home dues prediction to rule in coming days will come true.

Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) should be implemented in order to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and related technology to promote cooperation among the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to expedite the goals of achieving nuclear disarmament. The NPT was signed on July 1, 1968, and became effective from March 5, 1970. At least 190 countries are parties to this treaty with five non-signatories like India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and South Sudan. According to Vidhya Bhushan and Sachdeva, the world has seen around 14,515 wars fought between 3000 B.C. and 1935 without the uses of a single nuclear weapon in human history. The nuclear age began only after WWII which needs turnaround or reversal now for saving the world with its multitudes of civilizations. Only then the whole of humanity on this planet can enjoy real life.

Views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the stance of Khabarhub.

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